June 21, 2012
Today's Passage: 1 Corinthians 5
Good morning! I am Susan Coy. The last time I wrote a Journey entry I said, "I wish I had something exciting to say like, 'I just went skydiving,' but I don't. But I want to!" A very gracious and generous Journey reading couple gave me skydiving passes! Skydiving was AWESOME!
This year, I want a pony. :)
Besides skydiving, I am married to Scott and have two married children with fabulous spouses: Stephen & Chelsea (with one precious granddaughter, Caroline) and Sheridan & Ben ... and a dog named Jack Bauer. He lives up to his name.
Therefore let us celebrate the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. (1 Corinthians 5:8)
We have a responsibility to each other as believers to challenge one another when our walks are not consistent with our talk. This may even mean separation if the brother or sister does not repent and is boastful in his or her sin.
LIONS AND TIGERS AND BEARS -- AND CHURCH DISCIPLINE -- OH MY!
WOW! Paul's letter to the Corinthians could have been written to the church in America today. Our society embraces just about everything, and sadly, the church is rarely different from the culture in which we live. The Corinthians had a low view of sin and were even being boastful and arrogant about it. Does this sound familiar?
In this chapter, Paul says the church should address issues when fellow believers are behaving in a manner not worthy of their calling and should take serious action when they do not repent. (See also Matthew 18:15-17, Galatians 6:1, and Todd Wagner's Lord of the Ring series included in his 2003 messages.) Honestly, church discipline has taken a bad rap because the church has not fully sought God, His Word, and His ways in dealing appropriately with this issue. The church has failed by being too self-righteous, harsh, and unloving in its approach, or it has failed in the other extreme by ignoring issues altogether in the name of tolerance.
Warren Wiersbe says, "Church discipline is not a group of 'pious policemen' out to catch a criminal. Rather, it is a group of brokenhearted brothers and sisters seeking to restore an erring member of the family." A spirit of humility, love, truth, and grace should characterize all confrontations with fellow believers.
Paul also clarifies a statement in an earlier letter about not associating with "immoral" people. In 1 Corinthians 5:9-13, he wants us to understand that this does not mean unbelievers, but rather refers to believers who are living immorally. It is not a surprise that people who do not know Christ do not live in a way that honors Him. Rather than judgment and separation, our responsibility toward them is to exercise love, truth, and grace. Do you see a pattern?
Dr. Thomas Constable says, "Many Christians today struggle with an unbiblical view of separation that tends more toward isolationism than sanctification." So our challenge is to be bold, discerning, and loving when contemplating using the "holy hammer" with fellow believers. And we must use caution not to "holy huddle" -- that is, to isolate ourselves from unbelievers or to ignore our responsibility to deal biblically with believers living immorally. Both give us multiple opportunities to grow and to glorify God when done in a manner that pleases Him.
1. Do you tend to "holy hammer" or "holy huddle"?
2. Are there believers in your life or community group from whom you are withholding correction because it is awkward and uncomfortable for you?
3. Can you testify to a time when a fellow believer rightfully and lovingly called you to repentance?
4. If so, follow that believer's example and follow through on question 2!
WEEKLY FAMILY ACTIVITY
1 Corinthians 2-6 (June 18-22)
Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20.
* If you have trusted Jesus as your Savior, who lives in you?
* What do these verses say your body is?
* How would you expect someone to take care of a temple?
* What does it mean that you were bought with a high price?
* How do you treat something that is very expensive?
* How can you honor God with your body? (Make a list of at least 10 things.)
Activity: Go outside and use sidewalk chalk to draw a body for each family member. Be sure to include the eyes, ears, mouth, brain, heart, hands, feet, and stomach. Now for each of these parts, discuss ways that you can honor God with them.
June 21, 2012 05:33:47 AM
Thanks for encouraging me today, Susan. And sanctification is totally freeing if we humble ourselves to loving restoration. It works And after all, it is all about glorifying God as you said. It's not about us...Romans 15:6
June 21, 2012 08:22:34 AM
Thanks for the reminder of how we as believers should handle challenging situations with others ! Hope you get the pony this year !
June 21, 2012 08:35:00 AM
Hi Susan, love the name since that is the name of my bride of 42 years. I don't like the phrase "that would preach", but must say your devotional would. Thank you for taking the time to pray about and research such a fine message. Church discipline is woefully lacking in almost all American churches because of the lack of knowledge of the scriptures and probably lack of courage to do it even if they knew. Thank God that there are a few churches like Watermark that are willing to do it. Great devotional.
June 21, 2012 08:48:54 AM
I think a pony is coming your way!!
June 21, 2012 09:22:10 AM
Great words Susan on a difficult chapter! Love, truth and grace- great reminders for those of us who follow Christ as He was the perfection of those traits! And, you DO have a pony- his name is Fred and he lives in Kaufman! :)
June 21, 2012 09:32:44 AM
Hey Susan, thanks for the reminder about we should expect from whom. I was curious about Paul's words, so looked up NET notes/commentaries and saw what Bob Deffinbaugh had to say, "Paul does not mean for the Corinthians out of the world, but to keep the world out of the church.". He also mentioned that Paul is basically emphasizing Deut. 17:2-7, which basically addresses what to do when a member worships/serves another god. Interesting stuff, for sure. Your right, church discipline does get a bad wrap...but thankful that someday all of us will see how God cared/s more about our soul's condition than we possibly could have.
June 21, 2012 10:36:11 AM
Thank you sweet friend. I love the way you process the Word. Y'all have been in our prayers. Need a Coy fix soon. Xxoo.
June 21, 2012 11:26:17 AM
Susan, thanks for the LLOL (literally laugh out loud) in your bio! Knowing Scott, I fear that the pony coming your way looks something like this: http://newspaper.li/static/77b7531c85a4af43527937b49d9f7490.jpg . . . Like you, I was also struck by the similarities between the Corinthian church and many of today's Christians. Instead of being grieved by unrepentant sexual sin, lots of Christians have jumped on the pride bandwagon, congratulating themselves for their progressively tolerant views. If we took the situation from this chapter into 2012, we might be faced with the believer in question campaigning for the right to marry whoever he loves, in this case his step-mother. Because "it's all about love," right? The same problem Paul was dealing with in this chapter, sexualizing a relationship between two people too much alike in regard to family, is very similar to the problem with same-sex relationships, which are between two people too much alike in regard to gender. In v. 6, Paul has a word for us today in regard to the pro-SS-marriage believers: "Your boasting is not good. Don't you know that a little yeast permeates the whole batch of dough?" The evil approval of sin is contagious. It grieves me greatly.
June 21, 2012 12:30:31 PM
Praying the way we all pursue each other as broken hearted brothers and sisters seeking to restore one another changes the "rap" church discipline gets. Glad you didn't ask for a Mercedes...but there is always next year.
June 21, 2012 02:18:29 PM
Blessings, Susan. Church discipline is not only a tender-spot for the outside world to ridicule us, it is also a tender-spot for the church to ridicule the church. I was in a church as a new believer that used church discipline in a quick and harsh way (at least, it seemed so at the time). Time was not taken to know all the situation, and the person who had been sinned against became the victim rather than the recipient of support. My assessment at the time was that the person guilty of sin was shown grace and mercy, and the hurt spouse was never provided any counseling or support. It ended badly. That taught me all the reasons why you must be very sensitive to the Spirit when utilizing this discipline. Later, some years later, in fact, I was involved in a situation that allowed church discipline to be handled in a loving and caring way... You put a stop to sin, and embrace the forgiven sinner. I think God cares how we use and apply His Word... Yes, Church-discipline is a "heavy HOLY hammer"... but it can be a "redeeming, useful, loving HOLY hammer" that saves that individual from a speeding "run-away" and out-of-control train. Susuan, I particularly liked the last paragraph in your devotional. If we keep those thoughts in mind, especially when it appears there is a need for action... Individuals will grow from the discipline, just like our children do, and we COULD have a church of forgiven, corrected, redeemed, and indebted to each other repentant-sinners, family, and friends. Bless you and your new pony.
June 21, 2012 03:18:03 PM
Without restoration we cannot have unity. Been thinking about Ephesians 4:1-6 and Colossians 3:12-17 a lot lately. After reflecting on this in light of your devo, I can see that neither the holy hammer nor tolerance of sin will bring about unity. Restoration, in love - that's the key!
June 21, 2012 03:29:48 PM
Susan- Good job sister! You have demonstrated this well in your own life and have spurred on all of us who need work! Kelley
June 21, 2012 04:02:43 PM
Elaine said: >>Bless you and your new pony.
June 21, 2012 05:09:15 PM
Apparently, the other angle brackets render whatever follows them, invisible. I meant to say that Elaine's comment "Bless you and your new pony" is REALLY HILARIOUS!!!!
June 21, 2012 08:28:54 PM
Loved your devo. Good insight. Love getting to do this with you guys. Pony will be here when you get home.
June 21, 2012 10:09:52 PM
Difficult principles but obviously truth from the word of God. Thanks for stepping up to the challenge.
June 22, 2012 11:01:51 AM
God's timing is again perfect through your devo. I purposely like to read JTJ one day late to get the added benefit of the comments. Just last night while not being able to sleep did i mention to God to show me how to approach a friend in same sex relationship. Thank you for allowing God to use you to speak to me.© 2007-2013 Watermark Resources • www.watermark.org • built by innerecho